On target: pupils get their fill of PE

3rd April 2009 at 01:00
Ofsted says most schools now provide enough physical activity for younger children, but at KS4 the drive for improvement runs out of puff

Mountain biking, yoga, archery, dance, martial arts and other non- traditional sports are fuelling a resurgence of PE in schools.

Ofsted reported this week that the "vast majority" of schools now met the Government's target of providing at least two hours' physical education a week at key stages 1-3.

"Creative approaches to PE not only encouraged pupils not keen on traditional team activities, but also reduced disaffection," the schools watchdog said.

Schools are increasingly enlivening PE by turning to physical activities more likely to appeal to pupils.

A Department for Children, Schools and Families sports survey last year found that 62 per cent of schools offered orienteering, compared to 46 per cent in 2003-04. Archery was available in nearly a quarter of schools, up from 7 per cent in just four years.

Extra Government funding since 2003 had also helped, Ofsted said. It had paid for training staff in PE techniques, particularly teachers in primary schools.

But at KS4, less than half of schools met the two-hour target. In one of the 184 schools inspectors visited, pupils got only 30 minutes of PE per week.

Achievement in the subject was good or outstanding in two-thirds of primaries and more than three- quarters of the secondaries visited.

Assessment was the weakest aspect in both primaries and secondaries - procedures were not robust enough to monitor and analyse the achievements of all pupils.

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